Origins of the surname Moore

This distinguished British surname recorded in a wide range of spellings including: More, Mores, Moor, Moores, Moors, and in Scotland Muir, has a number of possible origins. The first is a topographical name for someone who lived on a moor or in a fen, both of which were denoted by the Olde English pre 7th Century word "mor", or from one of the various villages so named such as Moore in the county of Cheshire, or More in Shropshire. Secondly it may have been a nickname for someone of dark or swarthy complexion. In this case the derivation is from the Old French "more", meaning dark-skinned. There was also a personal name of the same origin, which was borne by several early saints. The given name was introduced into England by the Normans, but was never as popular in England as on the Continent. In Ireland the surname originated as a form of the Gaelic O'Mordha, composed of the elements O', meaning descendant of, and Mordha, a byname translating as proud or stately. In Scotland and Wales the origination was as a nickname for a large man, from the Gaelic word mor or the Welsh mowr, both meaning great. The surname was first recorded in the late 11th Century (see below), and early examples of the surname recording include: William Mor, tax register known as the Feet of Fines for the county of Essex in the year 1198, and Matthew del More in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire, in 1275. One of the earliest settlers in the New World was Leonard Moore, who is recorded as "living at Elizabeth Cittee, Virginea" in 1624, having arrived on the ship "Bona Nova" in 1619. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de More. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Suffolk, during the reign of King William 1st of England, 1066 - 1087. -- www.surnamedb.com

This page belongs to the Eucalypt Family History collection, maintained by Ryk Field. Reach me by email to: rykfield@gmail.com